Back Rolls.

People are often afraid of rolls when they start Aikido. But Aikido rolls are meant to be comfortable, and they help you to feel good. They soften up your body, and the slight dizzy feeling they give you helps you to find One-Point. So find a good soft surface, and get started.

Double click the black & white picture above to play a video of Back Rolls, single click to stop. If the mini-video didn't download automatically, you can get it while you're reading. It's only 149 K.
(Get the most recent Quicktime plug-in for best performance.)

How to do it.
(Practice on a soft, forgiving surface.)
Squat down with your left knee on the ground and your right knee up. Put the top of your left foot on the mat - in other words, your toes should not be up.
Sit down behind your left foot.
Roll almost straight backwards, but slightly towards your right shoulder. The ground should pass just to the right of your head.
Continue rolling back until you return to your starting position. Repeat steps 2 through 4 until something gets in the way. Turn around and roll back.
  • Feel as though you are going to roll straight back, right over your head. Then just before your head touches the ground, move your head slightly out of the way so you roll over your shoulder.
  • Alternate sides as you roll. Do this by pulling your back leg forward each time you get back to your starting position.
  • Make your rolls soft and quiet. This means your body is not colliding with the ground.
  • Let the dizzy feeling you get tell you where One-Point is. If you are keeping one-point, it will feel as though the whole world is spinning, but your One-Point is the one place that is motionless.
  • Don't make yourself sick! Some people can only take one or two rolls when they start out. Take your time, and build up to doing more.
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